that his attitude had rubbed off on her, making her a better soldier and a better person.
“You said I must have been on the fast track to have made captain so young,” she said softly. “You were right. My dad’s an ex-army general, and my goal was to become a general someday.
“But after Keith died I lost my ambition. And when your ambition’s gone, what’s the point? I felt as though I was just going through the motions. So I didn’t reenlist when my time was up.”
“How’d you end up here?” Jake asked.
She told him how she’d spent some time back home in Raleigh with her parents and her sisters. She had four sisters. One of them was presently working in Africa. All of them were accomplished women with great careers. She was the odd one out, with no real direction. Her grandfather had suggested she come up here and give running the lodge a try. He had no one to leave the place to when he died, and she had no immediate plans for the future.
“I gave it a try and I liked it,” Mina said now with a note of humor in her voice. “I’ve always been an active person, and this life suits me.”
Jake inhaled and exhaled. The clean mountain air was invigorating. “I can see what you mean. This is the life.”
Mina laughed softly. “I’m glad you like it. You know you could be in a luxurious suite at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort. They have over eleven hundred rooms, plus a casino and a world-class entertainment center where top country music artists perform every weekend...”
Jake leaned over and kissed her in midsentence. He let her lead him, waiting for permission to deepen the kiss. He would have been satisfied with just the taste of her lips on his tongue. After a moment, Mina sighed softly and gave herself to him. Her hand came up to caress his cheek and she leaned into him. Jake marveled at how sweet she tasted and how well the two of them anticipated each other’s needs. It was a gentle kiss. It was a kiss to seal what they each knew was happening between them, a meeting of kindred souls.
When they came up for air, she heard Jake say, “Thank you for trusting me enough to confide in me. Now, let me tell you about my wife.”
Mina went from mellow to ballistic in an instant. His wife?
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